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Relief and Exemptions

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6. Part-occupied property relief

We will only consider applications for this relief if the unoccupied areas will be vacant for a temporary period only. This means for no more than six months in any 12 month period.

If the partial occupation is going to last longer than this, the Valuation Office Agency may be able to value the unoccupied area separately. Contact the Valuation Office Agency to find out about this.

The council will not grant part-occupied property relief if you apply after your premises have become fully occupied, or fully unoccupied.

How to apply

You can apply for relief on premises that are partly unoccupied because:

  • you are moving in to the whole premises gradually, over a period of time
  • you are moving out of the whole premises gradually, over a period of time
  • you are occupying the property temporarily, for example, because your usual premises are being rebuilt or refurbished, because of fire damage to your usual premises, or similar.

To apply, please download a form or contact us for a form to tell us why your premises are partly occupied. Give the address of the premises and your contact details. You must provide a floor plan of your premises showing the areas that are occupied and those that are not occupied.

If you apply, and then send follow-on applications for different parts of the same premises because you are moving around within the premises, you must explain clearly:

  • why these changes to your business are required
  • why this has led to another part of the premises now being temporarily unoccupied.

If you apply, you must still pay your business rates while the council is making a decision on your application.

UK’s domestic and international subsidy control obligations and Business Rate Discounts

Businesses eligible for discounts will need to fulfil any requirements in place to ensure compliance with those obligations in advance of, during, and after claiming relief. See the BEIS guidance on the UK's international subsidy control commitments which explains the subsidies chapter of the TCA, World Trade Organisation rules on subsidies, and other international subsidy control commitments.


Start and end dates

If you are awarded relief, it will usually start from the date of your application. 

The maximum award period is three months (or six months for industrial property).

The period of relief will end on the day on which one or more of the following happens.

  • There is a change in the extent of your partial occupation.
  • The rate period (1 April to 31 March in any year) that applies to the relief ends.
  • A new period of relief under a new application starts.
  • The premises become completely occupied or completely unoccupied.

You must tell the Business Rates Service immediately if the unoccupied area starts being used.


If the council decides to grant the relief, it tells the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The VOA issues a certificate to confirm the premises are part-occupied (a Section 44a certificate). The council then sends you a new business rates bill.

If the council doesn't grant relief, you have no formal right of appeal. However, you can contact us online and ask for the decision to be reviewed. A different officer (not the person who made the original decision) will look at the decision again.